The roots of Innis Arden Golf Club began in 1899 as a nine-hole golf course organized by sixty-four charter members. The club had been the idea of developer J. Kennedy Tod who had been accumulating the land for twelve years. His 147-acre estate was situated on what we refer to today as Greenwich Point. Today, Innis Arden is an 18-hole private golf course as designed by Ken Dye in 2008, and includes many other amenities such as a practice range, tennis, paddle tennis, a pool, fitness center and fine dining facilities.
Innis Arden’s challenging golf course has been the site of several Championships and Qualifiers over the years. The women will negotiate a layout boasting 3 par fives, 4 demanding par three holes and several shorter par fours. Most recently, Innis Arden hosted the 2014 and 2016 Metropolitan Golf Association Senior Open Qualifying and the 2010 Westchester PGA Match Play Championship. In addition, the club is the annual site of “The Mitch” Pro-Am, sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company, Mohegan Sun and Empire City Casino, with 120 players from the Metropolitan area.
Gary Murphy, the PGA Golf Professional at Innis Arden said, “Adding a Connecticut Women’s Open to the list of tournaments contested here is very exciting for Innis Arden. Our members are looking forward to hosting the top women amateurs and professionals from Connecticut and across the country. You can be sure they will make this event an extra special one.”
Last year’s field of seventy-eight elite women golfers included thirty-two top golfers from Connecticut and forty-six from out-of-state. The highest finish from Connecticut belonged to Defending Champion Jessica Carafiello, of Stamford Conn. who came in tied for 8th at 146, two over par and four shots back of the winning score. Jessica, a former member and current Assistant PGA Professional at Innis Arden, has a strong record in the Connecticut Women’s Open with prior finishes at 7th in 2015, and 15th in 2014.
Innis Arden is also the home course for Catherine McEvoy, a sophomore player at Michigan State University best known for her back to back Connecticut Women’s Amateur wins in 2015 and 2016. Catherine has also had solid finishes in the Open finishing 17th in 2015 and 8th in 2016 earning her the Low Amateur title that year. Jessica and Catherine will be strong contenders in this year’s Championship at their home course.
Claiming the trophy last year was Kayla Lawrence of Deland Florida. Kayla, an aspiring LPGA Tour player, did her Graduate studies at the University of Texas at El Paso where she earned an MBA in 2016. She completed her Undergraduate studies in 2014 at the University of Tulsa with a B.S. Degree in Psychology.
Kayla’s victory at last year’s Open was attributable to her steady play and some magnificent birdies when she needed them. In the first round, Kayla drove the ball well and jumped up the leaderboard with birdies on holes 14-16 to finish one stroke behind the overnight leaders. In the second and final round, she found herself one shot back on the 16th tee and executed near perfect shots on both the #16 and #17 hole resulting in tap in birdies. With a closing two-putt par on the difficult 18th hole, Kayla secured a one-shot victory, her first as a professional, the 19th Connecticut Women’s Open Title and the $4000 first place check.